Be amazed! About a year ago our Meyer lemon trees arrived and sometime over the winter they bloomed. Their delicious scent filled the room (the room is our living room where we do practically everything including house our tropical plants in winter). Since no bees were handy to do the work, we clumsily used a Q-tip to pollinate the flowers. Tiny fruits began to form and we watched throughout the summer as they grew to full size while enjoying the sun on the front porch. And now they are just beginning to turn yellow. Watching our own lemons grow reminds us of the miracles that are enacted over and over again to simply get our food to the table.
This winter I’m trying to learn more about germination cues. I wish I could find a chart or book that simply listed what works for each type of plant. I expected to find something that says, this plant needs light, this plant likes it dark and warm, this plant needs a winter etc. But as much as I wanted a simple answer it became clear as I read a textbook on germination that nothing could be so far from simple. Again, the miracle that anything germinates at all became wildly apparent. And germination is just getting one foot out the door for that little plant. It then has a whole host of challenges before it completes its job!
However, I did find some helpful links and I will continue to try to become more informed …
Two handy charts:
And some colorful phenological signs:
- Plant corn and beans when elm leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, when oak leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when dogwoods are in full bloom.
- Plant lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli and cabbage when the lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.
- Plant tomatoes, early corn and peppers when dogwoods are in peak bloom or when daylilies start to bloom.
- Plant cucumbers and squash when lilac flowers fade.
- Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms.
- Plant beets and carrots when dandelions are blooming (good succession planting plan, too).
- Plant peas when the forsythia blooms.
Sources: The Old Farmer’s Almanac, University of Wisconsin Extension